Warbird Marine Holdings, formed by EagleTree Capital to invest in category-leading boat builders and managed by industry veteran John Dorton, announced it has completed the acquisition of Yellowfin Yachts. Yellowfin will be a separately managed sister company to Invincible Boat Company, which Warbird acquired in 2019. With this acquisition, Warbird becomes the largest and best capitalized designer and builder of custom offshore fishing boats.
Founded by Wylie Nagler in 1998, Yellowfin pioneered the premium center console category. In the 23 years since, Yellowfin has established itself as the most recognized brand in its segment and synonymous with the saltwater lifestyle.
“We are delighted to add Yellowfin to our Warbird platform. Yellowfin is at the pinnacle of their segment both in product line up and brand prestige,” said John Dorton, CEO of Warbird. “The Yellowfin team will remain in place at their Sarasota headquarters with Wylie Nagler as President. Wylie will continue to focus on the products and relationships that have made Yellowfin a legendary brand.”
“At Yellowfin, we have always strived to build the best boat by using the best materials — the best hardware, the best systems,” said Wylie Nagler, Founder and President of Yellowfin Yachts. “Joining forces with Warbird and John Dorton gives us the scale and resources of the Warbird platform, without changing Yellowfin’s DNA or our relentless focus on quality.”
Warbird will invest in Yellowfin’s facilities, people, and new product development – the same playbook that has made Invincible one of the fastest growing brands in the industry. Yellowfin and Invincible will continue to be managed independently.
“Both the Yellowfin and Invincible brands have their own personalities and design philosophies, and we intend to keep it that way,” Dorton said.
Mr. Dorton stated, “the center console category is split between volume builders that can’t deliver the customization, quality and performance the premium buyer demands, and small prestige brands that build quality boats but lack the scale and investment to become truly state-of-the-art.”
“By combining the resources of these two great businesses, Warbird will be able to accelerate innovation, invest in quality and customer service, expand capacity and ensure timely deliveries to our valued customers and distributors,” Dorton said. “Our goal is to set a new bar for the premium center console segment – world-beating boats with a complete customer experience to match.”
Jones Day provided legal counsel to Warbird Marine Holdings. Barrett Evans of Montecito Capital served as financial advisor to Yellowfin Yachts and Katz Barron provided legal counsel.
About Warbird Marine Holdings
Parent company to Yellowfin Yachts and Invincible Boat Company, Warbird Marine Holdings brings together the discipline and business rigor of a larger company with the entrepreneurial brands of premium sportfishing boats. In doing so, Warbird strives to create a higher level of craftsmanship, build quality, durability and customer experience for brands in its group. For more information, please visit warbirdmarineholdings.com.
About EagleTree Capital
EagleTree Capital is a leading New York-based middle-market private equity firm that has invested approximately $2.7 billion of equity capital since inception. The Firm has completed over 35 private equity investments and over 70 add-on transactions over the past 20+ years. EagleTree primarily invests in the following sectors: media and business services, consumer, and water and specialty industrial. For more information, please visit eagletree.com.